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Climate Group responds to latest IPCC report

9 August 2021, 8:00 UTC 1 min read

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today released its latest assessment report on climate change, warning that human impacts on the planet are having devastating consequences - and the window for meaningful action is closing.

Scientists are now certain that human-caused emissions have dangerously and permanently changed our planet. The last time atmospheric CO2 levels were this high was millions of years ago, and temperatures are rising faster than any time in at least the last 2000 years. To keep future effects to a minimum, and to protect biodiversity across the planet, it is vital that global temperature rises are kept to 1.5℃ and that governments, businesses and individuals work together for a more sustainable and equitable future. 

This is a stark and jolting report that reinforces how urgently immediate action is needed to slash emissions. We are now nearly two years into the Climate Decade, in which we must halve emissions by 2030. It will require bravery and resilience. Businesses, cities, national governments, and states and regions all have a significant role to play in moving towards a net zero carbon economy. Every decision, every investment, every target, needs to have the climate at its core. 

The last two years have shown us that when significant change is needed policymakers, leaders, and civil society can act boldly to create swift action. With COP26 on the horizon, this is the last chance that decision-makers have to align ambitious talk with financial backing, innovation, and action. There needs to be compromise on all sides, and a serious desire to reach conclusive ways forward. There are no more short cuts left to take.

Helen Clarkson, CEO, Climate Group

The report builds on 30 years of warnings from climate science and comes at a time of increasing extreme weather events across the world, including heatwaves, forest fires and flooding.

As the next climate change conference, COP26, approaches in Scotland this November, it is more important than ever that leaders take urgent actions to address the collective threats we face. Carbon and methane emissions both need to be rapidly reduced this decade and reduced to net zero by 2050, in order to give us our best chance of limiting temperatures to 1.5°C by the end of the century.

This report shows the very real threat the climate emergency poses to the planet – but it also makes clear that with immediate, concerted international action to reduce emissions, we can still avert the worst impacts of climate change. COP26 in Glasgow represents the world’s best chance – perhaps one of our last chances – to make that happen.

We know that protecting our planet from climate change must be a truly international and collaborative endeavour. As European Co-Chair of the Under2 Coalition we have a duty to ensure that states and regions play their part in the global response to the climate emergency.

Scotland will end its contribution to climate change completely by 2045 at the latest. We recently published an indicative Nationally Determined Contribution, outlining the actions we are taking to help meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. By highlighting our own action, we hope to inspire others to raise their ambition.

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, Scottish Government